Tank Abbott

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Tank Abbott
Abbott (left) with fans, 2015
Born David Lee Abbott
(1965-04-26) April 26, 1965 (age 52)
Huntington Beach, California
Other names Tank Abbott
Nationality American
Height 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Weight 293 lb (133 kg; 20 st 13 lb)
Division Super Heavyweight (no limit)
Heavyweight (265 lb)
Style Boxing, Wrestling
Stance Orthodox
Fighting out of Huntington Beach, California[1]
Years active 1995-2009, 2013
Mixed martial arts record
Total 25
Wins 10
By knockout 6
By submission 3
By decision 1
Losses 15
By knockout 7
By submission 6
By decision 2
Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog

David Lee "Tank" Abbott (born April 26, 1965) is an American mixed martial arts fighter, former professional wrestler, and author. He currently hosts his own podcast series titled "The Proving Ground with Tank Abbott."[2] Abbott is perhaps best known for being an icon in the early stages of mixed martial arts and the UFC, but has also competed in the PRIDE Fighting Championships, Strikeforce, EliteXC, and Cage Rage. He has described his fighting style, which he developed brawling in the bars and streets of Huntington Beach, California, as "Pit Fighting". Abbott was the first fighter to regularly wear what would be known as traditional MMA gloves in the UFC[citation needed]. He is also the author of his biography which is called Bar Brawler.


Abbott was born and raised in Huntington Beach, California. Abbott began wrestling when he was nine years old, and continued through high school where he also played football. He then continued wrestling in college, where he was a NJCAA All-American. He then attended Cal State University-Long Beach where he graduated with a degree in History. During this time he was trained to box by Noe Cruz who also trained world champion boxer Carlos Palomino at the Westminster Boxing Gym. Abbott was mainly known for the many street fights that he has engaged in, rarely losing. While working at a liquor store to help pay for his college tuition, Abbott encountered a "smart-ass" customer. Abbott beat the customer severely, and the customer, who turned out to be a son of a detective, pressed charges for assault. Abbott was sentenced to six months in jail, the judge saying "Mr. Abbott, you are a maniac. I'm surprised you haven't killed somebody."[3] He had over 200 street fights before joining the UFC.[citation needed]

Mixed martial arts career[edit]

Abbott started his career in mixed martial arts when he applied to Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) for its event UFC 6 Clash of the Titans in Casper, Wyoming.[4] The UFC management compared him to the character of "Tank Murdock" from the 1978 Clint Eastwood movie Every Which Way but Loose, which enocuraged them to give David the nickname of "Tank Abbott" and the billing of a "pit fighter" due to his street fighting history.

Ultimate Fighting Championship (1995–2003)[edit]

Abbott made his debut in 1995 at UFC 6 as scheduled. In his opening fight, he knocked out the Hawaiian fighter John Matua, who weighed 400 lb, in just 18 seconds. He further solidified his background by mocking Matua's convulsions after the knock out.[5] Later that night, after defeating Paul Varelans with similar ease, he fought Russian fighter Oleg Taktarov for over 17 minutes before succumbing to a rear naked choke.[6] [1] Both men collapsed in exhaustion after the fight, and Taktarov had to be carried out of the cage.[6]

In his first 4 UFC tournament appearances, Abbott advanced at least 1 round in all of them. Around the same time the UFC began switching away from the tournament format, his fortunes declined, as he won only 2 of 5 bouts in '97–'98 before retiring from MMA.

Return (2003–2013)[edit]

Abbott waged an unsuccessful UFC comeback in the mid-2000s, losing fights to Frank Mir, Kimo Leopoldo and Wesley "Cabbage" Correira. He later defeated Cabbage by KO in a rematch in what is in fact the only time Cabbage has ever been knocked out. Abbott would lose several more matches in regional shows.

In February 2008, he had a first-round knockout loss to Kimbo Slice at Elite XC's Street Certified event.[1]

His next fight against former PRIDE veteran Mike Bourke on February 13, 2009 at The Selland Arena in Fresno, California—was a part of the Valentine's Eve Massacre Event. Abbott controversially knocked out Bourke with a punch that inadvertently landed in the back of Bourke's head, securing a victory for the first time in nearly four years.

In 2011 Abbott participated in an unsanctioned "backyard brawl" with Scott Ferrozzo. The two men previously fought at UFC 11.

At King of the Cage: Fighting Legends, on Saturday, April 13, 2013, Abbott was defeated by longtime veteran Ruben "Warpath" Villareal by way of a 2nd round TKO. After the loss, his first sanctioned fight since 2009, Tank said that he was not sure if he would fight again but he had trained seriously for the first time in years, felt great, and had a lot of fun stepping back in the cage. He thanked Warpath and the two men shook hands. As he was leaving the cage Tank said that he was "starting to feel a little old".

Abbott was expected to face fellow MMA veteran Dan Severn for the upstart UR Fight promotion on March 20, 2016.[7] The contest was cancelled the day prior to the event as Abbott could not pass the required medical tests per the Arizona Fight Commission.[8]

Professional wrestling career[edit]

World Championship Wrestling (1999–2000)[edit]

Abbott worked as a professional wrestler with World Championship Wrestling (WCW);[9] initially he was brought in as an opponent for Goldberg,[9] on the understanding he was a "legitimate" fighter—who could render any opponent unconscious with a single punch, which became his wrestling finisher, 'The Phantom Right'—and could boost Goldberg's reputation. This feud, however, never developed.

Mere days prior to the Souled Out pay-per-view in 2000, WCW head writer Vince Russo was given the responsibility of booking a match to crown a new WCW World Heavyweight Champion. This came at the news that both WCW Champion Bret Hart and Jeff Jarrett, two of the company's top performers, were injured and could not participate at the event. To the dismay of company officials, Russo suggested having the mid-card Abbott win the Championship albeit only to hold it briefly. The scenario would not take place, and Russo was consequently released from WCW while other bookers composed the Souled Out card, choosing Chris Benoit to win the belt. Abbott instead faced Jerry Flynn, a legitimate black belt in taekwondo and defeated him at the pay-per-view.

He was then featured in segments with the boy band parody stable, 3 Count as their "biggest fan".[10] He began feuding with the stable after they would not let him join the band; the feud ended when Abbott was released from WCW.[10]

In wrestling[edit]

  • Finishing moves
  • Nicknames
  • "The Tank"

Other media[edit]

In 1997, Abbott appeared as a UFC fighter in the TV show Friends,[12] defeating Jon Favreau's character, the millionaire Pete Becker, who was dating Monica at the time. He appeared as himself in the 2013 web series Black Dynamite Teaches a Hard Way!, where a Black Dynamite mannequin teaches him what to do in case of an earthquake.[13]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

Mixed martial arts[edit]

Amateur wrestling[edit]

  • NJCAA All-American

Mixed martial arts record[edit]

Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Loss 10–15 Ruben Villareal TKO (punches) King of the Cage: Fighting Legends April 13, 2013 2 2:06 Oroville, California, United States For KOTC Superfight Championship.[15]
Win 10–14 Mike Bourke KO (punch) War Gods/Ken Shamrock: Valentine's Eve Massacre February 13, 2009 1 0:29 Fresno, California, United States
Loss 9–14 Kimbo Slice KO (punches) EliteXC: Street Certified February 16, 2008 1 0:43 Miami, Florida, United States
Loss 9–13 Gary Turner TKO (punches) Cage Rage 21 April 21, 2007 1 2:27 London, England
Loss 9–12 Paul Buentello KO (punch) Strikeforce: Tank vs. Buentello October 7, 2006 1 0:43 Fresno, California, United States
Loss 9–11 Hidehiko Yoshida Submission (single wing choke) PRIDE Final Conflict 2005 August 28, 2005 1 7:40 Saitama, Saitama, Japan
Win 9–10 Wesley Correira KO (punch) Rumble on the Rock 7 May 5, 2005 1 1:23 Honolulu, Hawaii, United States
Loss 8–10 Wesley Correira TKO (doctor stoppage) UFC 45 November 21, 2003 1 2:14 Uncasville, Connecticut, United States
Loss 8–9 Kimo Leopoldo Submission (arm-triangle choke) UFC 43 June 6, 2003 1 1:59 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Loss 8–8 Frank Mir Submission (toe hold) UFC 41 February 28, 2003 1 0:46 Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States
Loss 8–7 Pedro Rizzo KO (punch) UFC Brazil October 16, 1998 1 8:07 São Paulo, Brazil
Win 8–6 Hugo Duarte TKO (punches) UFC 17 May 15, 1998 1 0:43 Mobile, Alabama, United States
Win 7–6 Yoji Anjo Decision UFC Japan December 21, 1997 1 15:00 Yokohama, Japan
Loss 6–6 Maurice Smith Submission (exhaustion) UFC 15 October 17, 1997 1 8:08 Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, United States For UFC Heavyweight Championship.
Loss 6–5 Vitor Belfort TKO (punches) UFC 13 May 30, 1997 1 0:52 Augusta, Georgia, United States
Loss 6–4 Don Frye Submission (rear-naked choke) UU 96 December 7, 1996 1 1:22 Birmingham, Alabama, United States
Win 6–3 Steve Nelmark KO (punch) UU 96 December 7, 1996 1 1:03 Birmingham, Alabama, United States
Win 5–3 Cal Worsham Submission (punches) UU 96 December 7, 1996 1 2:51 Birmingham, Alabama, United States
Loss 4–3 Scott Ferrozzo Decision (unanimous) UFC 11 September 20, 1996 1 15:00 Augusta, Georgia, United States
Win 4–2 Sam Adkins Submission (forearm choke) UFC 11 September 20, 1996 1 2:06 Augusta, Georgia, United States
Loss 3–2 Dan Severn Decision (unanimous) UU 95 December 16, 1995 1 18:00 Denver, Colorado, United States
Win 3–1 Steve Jennum Submission (neck crank) UU 95 December 16, 1995 1 1:14 Denver, Colorado, United States
Loss 2–1 Oleg Taktarov Submission (rear-naked choke) UFC 6 July 14, 1995 1 17:47 Casper, Wyoming, United States
Win 2–0 Paul Varelans TKO (punches) UFC 6 July 14, 1995 1 1:53 Casper, Wyoming, United States
Win 1–0 John Matua KO (punches) UFC 6 July 14, 1995 1 0:18 Casper, Wyoming, United States



Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]